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Gift guide
Photograph: Ben Rowe

The best gifts for the movie lover in your life this year

Filmmakers Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson, Barry Jenkins and Sean Baker help you make the perfect holiday shopping list.

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Andy Kryza
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Christmas is just around the corner: a time for eating, hanging out with friends and family, and watching timeless festive family movies like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life and obviously Die Hard.

But it’s also a time for giving and that can be a challenge, especially when everyone’s had two years of sitting around and idly clicking ‘buy’ on major online retailers. To help track down the perfect pressie for the movielover in your life – big and small – we’ve scoured Santa’s sack and picked out a bumper crop of brand-new gift ideas that they almost definitely won’t have. Probably. And for some added prestige, we tapped some of cinema’s top directorial – including Moonlight Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, Last Night in Soho’s Edgar Wright, The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson and The Florida Project's Sean Baker – to give us some recommendations, too.


From French New Wave bags to Bond villain crockery to Home Alone LEGO to a toy Starship Enterprise so sophisticated it would probably ace the Kobayashi Maru for you, there is something here for everyone. Just pop on some Christmas songs, pour yourself an eggnog and get wrapping.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best Christmas movies ranked

Gifts for movie lovers

Earning a spot on one of Girls on Tops t-shirts has become a rite of passage for fast-rising female filmmakers. Thanks to the fashion mavens at GoT, you can literally wear your fanship for any number of highly worthy directors on your sleeve. Joining the range this year are Zola’s Janicza Bravo, Nia DaCosta and Prano Bailey-Bond, whose debut horror movie, Censor, is well worth shouting about. 

£25. Buy here (ships worldwide). 

Going where no tiny figurine has gone before is the crew of Playmobil’s USS Enterprise. Included are a mini Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov – no redshirts made the cut – in a kit released to mark the 55th anniversary of Star Trek’s first airing. It’s not cheap but it comes packed with fun details, including light and sound effects. Trekkers young and old will want to beam one of these onto Santa’s list asap.

£449/$499. Buy here

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Bella Freud Bond villain mugs 
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Bella Freud Bond villain mugs 

Fashion icon Bella Freud designed these simplistic odes to Bond’s most iconic villains, including Scaramanga, Dr No, Odd Job and Goldfinger. Even better, the nefarious monikers are hand-painted on each using 9 karat gold, presumably lifted from Fort Knox. Freud also designed a line of mugs dedicated to the most memorable Bond girls, though we’re slightly disappointed to see that Denise Richards’s Christmas Jones didn’t make the cut. Maybe she’ll, um, come again next year.

£35. Buy here (ships worldwide).

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Their plans may be fatally flawed (seriously, a hollowed out volcano?), but you definitely can’t accuse Spectre of having a rubbish logo. No Time to Die’s most discerning piece of tie-in merchandise flaunts it to the max with this set of elegant greeting cards. Unwrap one of these on Christmas day and you can extort your friends in style.

£25. Buy here (ships worldwide).

The perfect vinyl to accompany those relaxing Christmas nights, this cinematic spinoff from the ever-excellent Late Night Tales series features all-timers from the likes of Bernard Hermann, Lalo Schifrin and Vangelis. The double LP spans 60 years of cinema and a myriad of styles. And as a bonus, John Carpenter’s Halloween theme is on there for when you want to scare the kids to bed.  

£24.99. Buy here (ships worldwide).

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Don’t pick up this deluxe 4k restoration of David Lynch’s enigmatic masterpiece looking for answers. You won’t find any (still no hay banda, either). What you will find is a pristinely crisp presentation of one of the century’s greatest films along with a pair of posters, a quintet of art cards and a book of essays, plus a Blu-ray loaded with interviews, retrospectives and more. 

£39.99. Buy here.

Women vs Hollywood
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Women vs Hollywood

Film journalist Helen O’Hara’s much-praised book is food for thought to go along with all that food for, you know, um, eating this Christmas time. Casting its net far beyond the #MeToo movement, it casts a forensic eye at Hollywood’s dark past and challenged present in engaging, page-turning fashion.

£9.99. Buy here.

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This LEGO recreation of Kevin McAllister’s sprawling house comes with a whopping 3,955 pieces, each of which could double as caltrops should you find yourself in a similar Straw Dogs situation in the suburbs. The set includes the whole house plus the treehouse, the Wet Bandits’ van and even Old Man Marley. Additionally, the interior of the fold-out set is littered with the potentially fatal traps that made the film famous, including the cranium-cracking swinging paint cans.

£229.99/$249. Buy here.

Picked by Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight

‘I'm one of those people that still loves physical media. I joke with the assistants at my production company about how their relationship to movies is different to mine. Criterion has a new box set of Wong Kar-wai films, which I remember buying a very, very low-res copy of on eBay in the early 2000s, so I gave it to one of the assistants here.’ 

$159.96. Buy here (US and Canada only)

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Cinema memberships
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Cinema memberships

Picked by Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

‘All I want for Christmas is to get back to the movies – to see films like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza and Joel Coen’s
The Tragedy of Macbeth. We’ve watched so much good TV over this past year but when you see a great movie that’s really swinging for the fences, it’s something different. I don’t want anything new under the tree, I just want to see some interesting movies.’

Pictured: Alamo Drafthouse gift card; Genesis Cinema membership, London; BFI membership, UK; Palace Cinemas movie club, Australia; Nitehawk Cinema gift card, New York 

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Cult movie posters
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Cult movie posters

Picked by Sean Baker, director of The Florida Project

‘I give people posters, that’s my thing. When I find out a person's favourite film I figure how to find a way of getting them something cool like a UK quad or an Italian locandina – I just sent the Safdie brothers a locadina of Straight Time. Gaspar Noé and I have the same poster dealer. I’m always finding out beforehand what what Gaspar is ordering.’

Buy here.

Busby Berkeley boxset
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Busby Berkeley boxset

Picked by Edgar Wright, director of Last Night in Soho

'I've gifted the Warner Bros. Busby Berkeley boxset to people. To me, it is cinema. Those four movies:
42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Dames and Gold Diggers of 1933 are all mind-blowingly extraordinary. I look back at those films agog.’

£86/$70. Buy here.

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The most iconic scene from Hitchcock’s proto-Bond movie North By Northwest comes to life via this old-school flip-book, allowing you to watch Cary Grant dodge a crop-duster in the palm of your hand. Beats the hell out of watching the scene on an iPhone any day. 

$12AUS. Buy here (ships worldwide).

 

Modeled after a colour-test card and promising to make you smell like sweet basil, peppermint and flowers, this spectrum-spanning bar of artisan soap is a collaboration between Wary Meyers and indie studio A24. Could this be test marketing for an arty horror film about an outcast soaper seeking revenge against rivals who use parabens? Unlikely, but you won’t find any of those chemicals in the bar, in case you were concerned. 

$16. Buy here (ships worldwide)

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Ghibliotheque
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Ghibliotheque

Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli tends to inspire obsession in fans thanks to churning out stone-cold classics like My Neighbor TotoroSpirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Authors Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham help feed that obsession with this sprawling compendium that includes the animation house’s history, art from the films and reviews of every single Ghibli offering so far. 

£18.60. Buy here.

Picked by Dan Jolin, editor of Senet Magazine

‘A modern, streamlined update of the classic 1979 Dune board game, with movie tie-in trimmings. It’s an engrossing strategy title, where each player vies to take control of the galaxy’s most precious commodity. Guaranteed to bring a bit of spicy heat to those long, winter nights.’

$50. Buy here (ships worldwide).

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You’ve Got Red on You
Photograph: Ben Rowe

You’ve Got Red on You

In this literary slice of fried gold, author Clark Collins details the story behind one of British cult cinema’s biggest crossover hits, Shaun of the Dead. The book features in-depth interviews with director Edgar Wright; stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy and Kate Ashfield; and famous fanboys Quentin Tarantino, zombie effects legend Greg Nicotero and World War z scribe Max Brooks.

£19.99/$25. Buy here.

Mike Nichols: A Life
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Mike Nichols: A Life

The EGOT-winning legend behind The Graduate, Closer and Working Girl, not to mention a plethora of Broadway hits and some seriously decent TV, is the subject of Mark Harris’s terrific new biography. Harris told the story of that Dustin Hoffman-starring breakout in the rollicking Pictures at a Revolution and digs deeper into Nichols’ life in a chunky tome that will delight the cinephile in yours.

$35/£20. Buy here.

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Sure, you’ve always been the caretaker. But should you ever lose your keys while strolling the hedge maze outside, this Overlook-branded stocking-stuffer will ensure they’ll find their way back to you so you can get into your room before bath time.

£6.99. Buy here (UK only).

Agnès Varda tote bag 
Photograph: Ben Rowe

Agnès Varda tote bag 

This Criterion Collection tote will help you a) celebrate one for the true greats of French cinema, a much-missed lifeforce with several bona fide masterpieces to her name, and b) hold your shopping. The illustration of Agnès Varda was drawn by her friend Christophe Vallaux. A perfect cinephile stocking filler.

$20. Buy here (ships worldwide).

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